Frank Hardy Made My Photographs Two

Skipper’s …

with 22 comments

Before Skipper’s was a dive shop, it was a fishing tackle store.  I do not remember it as a fishing tackle store … I just remember it as a dive store.  In fact I got my diving certificate from Joe Kingry ( the owner ) back in 1969 … 43 year ago.  I have not been scuba diving in years, but I have snorkeled down in Belize in the last 7 or 8 years.  One good thing about getting your scuba diving certification is that it is good for life, so you can rent scuba gear wherever you travel.  In fact that reminds me to go find my scuba card …

Thanks for looking and as usual, all comments are welcome …

Written by Frank Hardy

April 17, 2012 at 10:02 am

22 Responses

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  1. My husband Jerry was certified there and once we knew we were going to the Keys for our honeymoon, his gift to me was swimming lessons ( at least i got to point I could tread water with my head above the surface!), and mask, fins and snorkel. Probably still have those somewhere! He says the same thing about his SCUBA card- if he could just find it! :-)

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    floridafirst

    May 8, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    • Good story … I got my scuba certification back in 1969 and still have my original certification card. Thanks … Frank

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      Frank Hardy

      May 18, 2016 at 5:56 pm

      • Construction going on next door and a wood building. Sorry for the long over due photo. I missed receiving the threads of the discussion and forgot about it.

        DAVID SKIPPER

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        literarydetective@comcast.net

        May 19, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      • Frank, we must have met back then. I was an instructor at Skippers from late ’69 until the summer of ’71 when I got out of the Navy and returned to the New York area. Those were exciting days exploring coastal dive spots and inland springs – plus all those spectacular trips. My favorite was to Glover’s Reef off Belize (then British Honduras). Thanks for setting up this blog – hope you keep it up and maybe some more old timers like me will discover it.

        Chris McManus
        Chris_m@sbcglobal.net
        NAUI 1940

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      • Thanks for the comment Chris … I am sure that our paths did cross down at Skipper’s Dive Shop. The guy that I remember that was an instructor had gotten out of the Navy in the early 70’s and had gone down to Key West and opened up Key West Pro Dive Shop on Garrison Bight. I cannot remember his name right off … we took a lot of trips to the Keys from around 77 to 84 and we used to get our tanks refilled there. That was the only dive shop I can remember using back then. I think the guy was from Ohio now that I think about it more. I ran across my old instruction manual from ’69 just the other day and brought back some fond memories. Don’t dive any more. I have started posting to Instagram several years back (@frankphardy) and don’t give my blogs the attention that I used to. Check it out and let me know what you think. Keep in touch and if you ever get back to the panhandle let me know. Thanks again … Frank

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        Frank Hardy

        April 19, 2017 at 1:35 pm

  2. I received my dive certification from Joe Kingry in 1968 in this building. It was a very tough course, very long pool, and one had to be a good swimmer to become certified. Thanks Frank for tackling this photo project. I took my sons to the studio across from Sacred Heart many times in the 60’s and 70’s. Frank was a great photographer.

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    Dee

    March 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    • I got my dive certification in 1969 from Joe Kingry and I have been looking for it recently. I had found it a year or so back and placed it somewhere that I could put my hands on it … Thanks for the comment … Frank

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      Frank Hardy

      March 5, 2013 at 6:24 pm

  3. My Dad, Joe Kingry, bought half of Skippers from Mr. Skipper senior around 1958 when he introduced scuba diving along with the fishing tackle. He was in partnership for a while with his son, Ben Skipper. Eventually, Ben sold his half to Glen McDonald. The two of them expanded the dive training program,adding the dive instruction pool out back, and became one of the top 10 dive shops in the country for many years with the help of alot of very good dive instructors, according to the major dive equipment manufactures of the time. They remained partners until sometime in the late 70s. Glen branched off in the commercial diving side of the partnership and in fact was the hero that saved the passengers of the National flight “Dona” that landed in Pensacola Bay. Dad sold the business in the mid 80s but rented the building to the new owners until almost 1990. He spent 32 years doing what most people just dream of doing in this little building in the picture.

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    Phil Kingry

    May 26, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    • Thanks for the comment and info Phil. I am curious as to what the businesses in the surrounding buildings used to be … All that I can remember is the restaurant that was on the corner of Wright and Alcaniz, but I cannot recall the name. We really had a nice time hanging around the dive shop in 1969 / 70 or so. Your father was very nice to us back then. Thanks again for the comment … Frank

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      Frank Hardy

      May 27, 2012 at 9:12 am

      • I recall a photo store was next door to the tackle shop at some point.

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        David S. Skipper

        May 19, 2016 at 8:34 pm

      • It was called ” Pensacola Photo ” and I am not positive on this, but I think that the business was started by the Frenkle family back in the 1940’s. It was purchased by Marge Dodson back in the early 1980’s. She operated it until she closed it in 2014 or somewhere around that time. It was hard seeing a business like Pensacola Photo close after so many years. The business of photography has changed so much and a number of photography businesses have closed down. Calumet Photo in Chicago is one that closed seven or eight years ago and really surprised me. Thanks for the comments David, it is nice hearing from you… Frank

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        Frank Hardy

        May 24, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    • Brings back lots of GOOD memories. Oh too be 30 again……………the fun I would have…….

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      Debbie Kingry Garrett

      June 29, 2012 at 11:13 am

      • Thanks for the comment … as I said earlier, I received my scuba diving license back in 1969 and one of my instructors at the time was a Navy guy named Bob Holston. When he got out of the Navy, he moved to Key West and opened up the Key West Pro Dive Shop on Garrison Bight. He remembered us from Skipper’s in Pensacola and was always very good to us on our dive trips down to the Keys … I have often wondered what ever happened to him. Keep in touch and please check back … Frank

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        Frank Hardy

        June 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    • I can say I knew your dad since I graduated from one of his scuba classes in May 1965 as a snotty nosed kid (sailor). I think about that place from time to time and always had great memories of Joe and the dive shop, diving has come along way since those days and sometimes I wonder how we ever managed to stay alive doing things we would never think of doing now! It’s been 48 years and a month since I certified and I am still active as a diver I manage to get in several dives each month if I need it or not?

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      Kenneth Irvine

      June 13, 2013 at 11:08 pm

      • Kenneth … Thanks for the comment, but my father was not a scuba diver and never taught at Skipper’s. He knew Joe Kingry, but all he did was take the photo that you see here. I was a student at the dive shop back in 1969 when I got certified, but I never went any further with any type of instructor certification. Thanks again for writing and please check back … Frank

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        Frank Hardy

        June 14, 2013 at 9:56 am

    • I have a photo of the store from the 1930s. Brick streets then. I never knew my grandfather, as I was born after he died. It was originally a tackle shop. I have vague memories of going into the store. My father Ben F. Skipper, Jr. never talked much about the shop. I knew Glen MacDonald bought into the store, but was unaware that my father sold his share in the store to him. I never knew my dad had a share. I do know that my grandparents made my dad work in the store instead of going to college and then sold it. I do remember there was a barber shop on the block where I got my crewcut until I was old enough to say no more crewcuts. I also remember the diner at the end of the corner. There was a photo shop to the right of the tackle shop.

      DAVID SKIPPER
      Aurora, CO (A Long Way From Florida)

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      David S. Skipper

      April 9, 2014 at 12:21 am

      • David … Thanks for the comment. I appreciate you taking the time to write. I would be interesting in seeing the photo of Wright Street from back in the 1930’s. I never knew that a ” Skipper ” family actually owned Skipper’s, all that I have ever know was the Kingry family as the owner of the dive business, since I got my scuba diving certification from Joe Kingry back in 1969. In fact, now that I think about it, I knew a ” Skipper ” boy / family that used to live around from my father’s studio in East Hill. I cannot put a face to him, I think he was older than me, but I think that his name was Ronnie. I did not know about Glen McDonald being a part owner, however that makes sense that he might be. As far as the camera shop, it was known as Pensacola Camera Shop and it closed down last month after being in business for 60 or 70 years. Back in the 50’s, I think that the Frenkle family used to own it. Thanks again and if you get a chance, email me a copy of the street from back in the 1930’s. Keep in touch … Frank

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        Frank Hardy

        April 9, 2014 at 8:06 am

      • Hello–the restaurant on the corner with the “Pensacola Lunchroom” and was owned by Mr. Mike Callas. Joe Kingry had a brother, Carl Kingry who had a son John. We were best friends. Carl would take us to the shop and Joe Kingry would let swim in the pool. Carl and John were in a fatal wreck one summer–1965-1966? I remember his mom, Eloise–last I heard she remarried and moved to Orange Beach??. I too got my Scuba card from Skipper’s. John also had a sister–Gail/Gale??. I don’t know what became of her.

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        Nick Agall

        April 11, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      • Nick … I can remember a restaurant there on the corner back in the 1970’s that I used to go and eat in, but I could not recall it’s name. I did not know the owner personally, but he was a friend of my father’s. As far as the Kingry family goes, all I really knew was the father, Joe. He was also nice to us and we spent a lot of time down at the business back around 1969, 70 and 71. I never knew that he had a brother and I am sorry to hear what happened to him and his son. Thanks for commenting and keep in touch … it was nice hearing from you.

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        Frank Hardy

        April 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    • It would have been my grandmother Allie Davis Skipper, that sold the business to your dad in 1958, as my grandfather died on March 30, 1950. I was not born until March 30, 1952, but I remember going to the store when my dad Ben Skipper, Jr. ran it. I remember there was a barber shop on the block where I got my hair cut and a diner at the end of the block. My father never talked about the business to me. I have vague memories of the place. I did a cover photo for Guideposts Magazine, when Glen McDonald was featured in an article about the airline crash in Escambia Bay. My dad was on the ham radio talking to Glen when the crash occurred. I also did an article about the crash for International Rotary Magazine. David Skipper

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      David S. Skipper

      May 19, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      • Thanks for the history lesson … this is what I was hoping for when I started putting these photos up years ago. I am surprised that the Florida Memory Project and other groups / museums have not expressed interest in any of this information. Thanks again and please keep in touch … Frank

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        Frank Hardy

        May 24, 2016 at 2:12 pm

  4. folks this is 406 E Wright St, Still there, now Emerald City Dance Bar. There was an indoor pool in back, probally not when it was a tackle shop but when it was a dive and swimming lesson place. The pool is now filled in.
    Wright Street business district was there because the L&N Train deport was across the street. (Passenger trains!)

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    Bill

    April 17, 2012 at 11:36 am


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